From Picket Lines to Picket Fences: A Triangulative Analysis of Residential Outcomes of the Black Washingtonian Middle Class, 2000-2009

Peris Flagg


The current discourse on residential change in the District of Columbia (DC) largely focuses on increasing racial division as a result of the economic change that took place between 2000 and 2009. Little attention has been given to the effects of these phenomena on the Black middle class. Although some scholarly works have focused on the Black middle class and its residential outcomes, these studies have seemingly overlooked the DC metropolitan area. The Spatial Assimilation Theory (SAT) proffers that racial/ethnic segregation occurs, in part, due to socioeconomic (SES) differences across groups. This study uses SAT to analyze the effects of recent economic changes in DC on the residential outcomes for Black middle class Washingtonians. Using indicators of SES at the household level, the findings seem to support the hypothesis that, while the total population of Black residents in DC has declined, the size of the Black middle class has increased. This research therefore concludes that public discourse unnecessarily perpetuates racial tensions, ignoring issues of SES differentials.


Gentrification; Residential Segregation; Spatial Assimilation Theory

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